15 Legit Ways I Save Money When Backpacking In Europe

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Traveling Europe is incredibly affordable and the public transportation is unlike anywhere else in the world.

I lived as an au pair in Bologna, Italy and even got to backpack Europe. I was essentially living off of an au pair stipend (which is literally just a few hundred dollars) and I still got to see so many amazing countries, not to mention all the small towns in Italy.

I did everything on a budget and saw SO much. It was a life-changing trip!

Below are 15 ways to save money that you must use on your next trip.

Before we get started, make sure to sign up for my free resource library and get access to exclusive printables all about saving money and building wealth, meal planning, and more.

1. Get cash back with Ibotta

Ibotta is a free app that gives you cash back for making purchases on things like groceries, clothes, toiletries, and much more while traveling.

It’s silly not to use Ibotta if you’re a regular grocery shopper and also have to buy things like clothes, toiletries, and pretty much anything else you’d find at a store like Walmart or Amazon.

If you sign up now, you can get $10 in your account by using my link here.

If you’re downloading Ibotta on your phone, the app will ask if you have a referral code. Use my referral code: lwyxxrb and you’ll get $10 for signing up.

2. Offer services online

Are you looking for an online job?

  • Do you offer freelancing services like web design, editing, marketing, or other services? Create a profile on Fiverr where thousands of people come to hire people to do work for them. I’ve hired logo designers and more all from Fiverr and definitely recommend it!
  • You can even make money by filling out surveys on Springboard America with your honest opinion. It’s that easy.

Interested in other real work from home careers? Check out this great list.

3. Sign up for Ebates to get travel discounts

Ebates gives cash back on online purchases, such as flights and other travel-related expenses.

Ebates is a website that gives you cash back for your purchases, giving up to 40% cash back. All you have to do is log on to Ebates, find out which store you want to shop at, and you’ll start getting cash back.

Create an Ebates account here. Make an online purchase of $25 and get $10 as a welcome bonus! So easy.

Ebates even has a free browser extension that automatically applies the best coupons to your purchases and activates cash back. There are so many times I forget to use Ebates when I’m online shopping – so the Ebates button reminds me every time I go online shopping. It’s a must. 

4. Billshark

Billshark is a MUST for anyone who has a cell phone, cable, internet, or insurance bill and wants to lower their bill.

And trust me, it works because I’ve used it myself on 3 different bills and I’ve saved $290.

Here’s how Billshark works:

  1. Send copies of your bills to Billshark. (I did this by uploading an online PDF of each bill).
  2. Billshark negotiates all of the bills you send in.
  3. You get notified if Billshark was successful. If they are, they take 40% of the savings. Ex. Billshark saved me $290 over the course of 6 months, so I pay them $116. I can do this in a monthly payment plan or all at once.

It’s definitely worth the savings and it was such an easy process. 

You can start lowering your bills with Billshark here.

5. Airbnb

Save money when traveling by using Airbnb, my favorite way to travel!

With Airbnb, you can choose from a full house, a room, or a shared space.

I prefer Airbnb’s over hotels because you can get a full kitchen and more (sometimes even your own pool and yard!).

You get $40 for signing up through my link here.

I’ve used Airbnb over ten times throughout Europe, Asia, Mexico, and the United States.

It’s so affordable and I love the unique experience I get traveling this way.

6. Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a great way to gain an authentic experience with people from all around the world.

Even better, you save money when you’re couchsurfing because you don’t have to spend any money on accommodations.

Couchsurfing is precisely what it sounds like – you stay with locals of the city you’re visiting and crash on their couch. 

I’ve couchsurfed once, and my mom has several times.

Just some quick tips to follow: 1) Stay with hosts that are verified and have at least 10 positive references 2) Always tell your friends or family the exact address or where you are staying before you get there 3) If you ever feel uncomfortable, leave. Don’t think about it, just leave.

You can learn more about couchsurfing here.

P.S. Sign up below for the FREE ultimate financial planner that includes printables like: debt tracker, income tracker, annual budget summary, savings challenges, financial goals, and debt thermometers!

7. Use a credit card with zero foreign transaction fees

There’s no reason why any credit card should be charging you foreign transaction fees.

If they are, it’s time to find a new credit card!

If you’re not sure if your credit card charges transaction fees, all you have to do is call your bank and ask them.

Here is a great list of credit cards that do not charge a foreign transaction fee. 

10. Avoid airport currency exchange

Never exchange currencies at the airport. The currencies are tremendously marked up and you’ll waste a lot of time.

Banks and credit unions generally have the best currency exchange rates.

I made the mistake of doing this and could not believe the exchange rate. It’s terrible!

11. Read the fine writing

Wherever you go, make sure you’re always reading the fine print.

For example, RyanAir (budget airlinEuropeEuroe) has a ton of hidden charges.

You must check-in online before going to the airport, you have to print out your boarding pass, and you can pay a ton of excess luggage. RyanAir has some of the lowest allowed luggage (15kg), so make sure to weigh your luggage ahead of time.

Before you buy a plane ticket, always make sure to find out if there are any extra charges on anything.

12. Use overnight buses

Overnight buses are a great way to save money on accommodations and get to your destination faster.

FlixBus has tons of overnight buses going all over Europe. The seats are pretty comfy, too!

14. Blablacar

Blablacar is a long distance carpool service (sort of similar to Uber) that can take you to one country to another, or from one city within a country to another city.

The costs range depending on how far you’re going.

You’ll share a car with others (or be alone with the driver).

I used this service several times when I was an au pair in Europe and even got a ticket for under $10 to go from France to Italy.

15. Use Groupon

Groupon has thousands of savings related to travel.

With Groupon you can save money on:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Excursions/Tours
  • Cruises
  • Travel items
  • Concerts/Events


Use this 12-week travel savings plan to save money for your next trip!

➡️ What to read next: 30 Ways To Cut Your Spending And Save Thousands Per Year

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What tips do you have to save while backpacking in Europe? 

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